Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Mike Kavis, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, PowerBuilder, .NET, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo, CRM

SOA & WOA: Article

How Should CIOs Engineer the New Social Enterprise?

What is social enterprise software anyway?

As we know, Chief Information Officers are generally ‘change and upheaval averse' because it is, after all, mostly prudent to resist change. With change comes risk, new user training, new integration challenges and a bottom line with increased cost. But new social enterprise trends cannot be brought to bear without taking the necessary steps that form Business Process re-Engineering (BPE) and its associated evils.

If process re-engineering within the commercial space has indeed developed a bad name, this may be down to the fluffier of the fluffy management consultants who operate in this space. The serious, non-fluffy and very real process of moving to new social enterprise platforms is now a very pressing challenge for many CIOs (and CEOs) who realize that they must adapt to the new way of working practices if they are to optimize efficiency.

What Is Social Enterprise Software Anyway?
The kind of social business tools we are focusing on in this new zone of work practice include:

  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Wikis, knowledge banks and databases
  • Workflow activity tracking tools
  • Forums for community discussion
  • Tagging and bookmarking tools
  • Content recommendation and also people recommendation engines

Stuart McRae is executive collaboration evangelist at IBM, so that basically makes him a social enterprise software tool missionary devoted to explaining why this new obligation to change working practices is so important. The move to social enterprise tools is a bit like the email adoption boom of the early '90s he says. "Comments like ‘we'll never use email' gave way to conversations where CEOs asked their CIOs ‘why do all of my peers have an email address on their business card, but I don't?' - the concept of leveraging social media and networking for internal and external conversations is clearly Crossing the Chasm (in Geoffrey Moore's words), even if it is not yet mainstream."

Dominant Social Manifestations
McRae argues that the cultural, behavioral and organizational changes that will be the dominant manifestations of social business are only just now starting to appear.

We can look back at the last decade of the previous century and see that a massive change in our work methods brought about by the arrival of email was just one of a number of coincidental developments that drove new organizational models in every business vertical.

"[Email] combined with wide area networks, laptops, mobile phones, videoconferencing, mass air transportation and acceptance of English as a common language for business turned work into something you did from anywhere, not somewhere you went. [There has also been a] shift to services industries as the engine of growth and to globalization as the dominant organizational trend in business," said IBM's McRae.

He further argues that today, social media (and ultimately new social enterprise practices) are integrating with the proliferating use of mobile devices, cloud computing, analytics on Big Data and more besides. These factors will now coalesce and be amplified by (in all probability suggests McRae) a congruent set of "non-IT" trends like the emergence of major new world super-economies and mega-cities, low-cost airlines and high speed trains, rural broadband and true "always on" networks.

McRae's Seven Pillars of Social Enterprise Wisdom
For Stuart McRae there are seven pivotal stages, factors and facets of making social enterprise a success and these points may indeed form a checklist that CIOs should now be aiming to target.

#1 - Social enterprise is not a pilot. This is not a rehearsal and firms should realize that the progression to adopt these new tools is an imperative.

#2 - Senior stakeholders (and of course by that we generally mean employees) within the organization need to buy in to the social enterprise mindset and lead by example. It is not an "option" to use social enterprise tools; it is part of the job.

#3 - Closely linked to point #2 is the stipulation that social enterprise tools must be embedded at the heart of work for every user, i.e., social is not something you do as well as work, social is something you do as part of the way you work at the core.

#4 - We need social enterprise to flourish in an environment where there are no silos of excluded individuals so it must be open to all. The only caveat here is that grouped control of certain discussions where a need for confidentiality arises can still be managed. Everyone from the receptionist (or this may be the CEO's personal executive assistant) to the sales director has to get involved.

#5 - There must be integration with the way people work today, i.e., plug ins for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word, to allow users to blog or integrate with social channels right from the application that they are already used to using. McRae notes that this is core to IBM's product portfolio in this space.

#6 - The firm must continually monitor and look for obstacles that might impede or slow down social enterprise adoption and eradicate and remove these hindrances when they are identified.

#7 - A social firm will need to create and build communities of champions that record their success and barriers as they carry out their own idea generation. Ideas need to pass through a process of (i) suggestion (ii) discussion (iii) voting and (iv) graduation.

Note: It's important to remember that outgoing and gregarious sales directors are often excellent external communicators, but very poor when it comes to their internal messaging. For this reason, the receptionist may win over the sales director in terms of social enterprise champion.

How Do We Get Truly Social?
"In many organizations, successful use of social tools is happening today when small groups of employees with a common pain point figure out how to address them by finding a suitable social platform and focusing on their problem, not the tool. While the choice of a poor tool will prevent success, you will not hear about those projects - just the ones that succeed - and there the selected tool only needs to be ‘good enough' for the specific problem in hand," said McRae.

Social business practices and the wider development of social enterprise platforms and tools by major IT vendors from IBM but also Box, Cisco Systems, Citrix Online, Google, Microsoft, salesforce.com and Yammer are already having a major impact upon the way we work. We, the users, are driving these trends through our own preferences for using tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the mainstream outside of the workplace.

There will be a need to agree upon and implement acceptable levels of net-based etiquette to corral and control our use of social enterprise tools. But as IBM's McRae insists upon asking, "Isn't all etiquette social anyway?" It can't be that hard to be social, can it?

This post first appeared on CIO Enterprise Forum here.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.